With the playoffs in their sights, the Los Angeles Kings would like to play better heading into the postseason. A visit to Minnesota could help them get back on track.
The Kings look to avoid a fourth straight loss Monday night by continuing their road success against the Wild.
Los Angeles (42-26-6) hopes to reach the postseason for the first time since 2001-02, but it hasn't played like a playoff team of late. The Kings have been outscored 11-5 during a losing streak that reached three games with a 4-1 home loss to Dallas on Saturday.
The Kings could miss the playoffs or be seeded anywhere from fifth to eighth in the Western Conference, but improving their play down the stretch is imperative. Los Angeles is 5-6-2 since the Olympic break.
"I think we need to take a look in the mirror, as individuals and as a team," captain Dustin Brown told the Kings' official Web site. "We can't be expecting to play like this in a couple weeks. Obviously our goal is to make the playoffs, but if we play like this, we're going to be four and out.
"We need urgency from every aspect of this team."
Los Angeles can start while trying for a fourth consecutive road win over Minnesota (36-33-6), which is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight season. The Kings, who've outscored the Wild 12-5 during their three-game winning streak in St. Paul, also have won six of seven overall in the series.
"I think the best thing for us will be playing hockey immediately," defenseman Rob Scuderi said of the Kings trying to bounce back from their latest loss.
However, if the Kings are going to remain successful versus the Wild, they'll have to improve in their own zone.
Dallas converted four of seven power-play chances Saturday after Los Angeles gave up one goal in 20 penalty kills over the previous five contests.
Things haven't been much better offensively for the Kings.
Brown and Michal Handzus are the only players to score in the Kings last two contests, while leading scorer Anze Kopitar has one assist during that span. Handzus has two goals and two assists in three games against the Wild this season. He had one of each in a 5-2 win at Minnesota on Dec. 31.
Kopitar has 76 points, one shy of his career high set in 2007-08.
Though Los Angeles' Jon Quick has a 3.89 goals-against average during a 1-2-0 stretch, he's 3-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA all-time at Minnesota.
Niklas Backstrom could be in net for the Wild after he replaced the injured Josh Harding during a 6-2 loss at Detroit on Friday. Backstrom has a 3.30 GAA while losing his last three home starts against Los Angeles.
Andrew Brunette scored for the third time in four games Friday for Minnesota, which has lost four of six. He has a goal with two assists against the Kings this season.
The Wild could be without captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu for a third straight game due to an arm injury.